Riverside Farm: An Enchanting Vermont Wedding Venue

By Rev. Alan Viau

Nestled in the Green Mountains of Vermont is an elegant and pastoral venue that will enchant your wedding. Riverside Farm is a perfect destination location for a rustic yet naturally elegant wedding. It is accessible, secluded and naturally perfect.


Wedding in a meadow at Riverside Farm

It was a childhood dream come true when Joe and Courtney bought the property in 2001. They immediately began renovating the barns and farmhouse. They hosted their wedding in the meadow next to the barn and had so much fun. Soon people started asking if they could host weddings on the farm.  They decided to dive into this business that found them. They researched caterers, photographers and musicians in the area and recruited friends and family to help out.


Riverside Farm in autumn.

Riverside Farm can hold weddings anywhere from 20 people to 500, from small elopement weekends to large multi-day Indian weddings. Joe and Courtney know that every wedding is unique and memorable. With two different properties in which to host parties and events, including 3 giant post and beam barns, stone wine cellars and waterfalls, an enormous meadow, rivers, covered bridges, apple orchards, a working organic farm and plenty of antique cars, wagons and tractors. There are so many choices for a romantic rustic-themed wedding weekend.


For Joe and Courtney, it is important that every family and couple have a unique and personal experience. They take a limited number of weddings per year because they don’t want to “turn into a wedding factory (at all)…we would much rather find families who want to come and host their special weddings with us, so we can customize each one and really give it the attention they deserve as opposed to just packing them in!” Their goal is to provide really incredible events rather than tons of cookie cutter ones.


They use local caterers and are proud to be part of the local economy, supporting local chefs and professionals. A lot of their own produce and flowers are grown on the farm. There is a green house and gardens with tons of veggies . All themed towards the love of fresh, local produce and good simple food. Although they can cook anything, they want to stay true to the rustic Vermont country style. Great food doesn’t have to be complicated… just fresh and organic when possible.


“We are really lucky and feel honored that people choose our farm to host their weddings… it’s such an emotional and amazing weekend…and Joe and I understand how they feel… we want to show the best of Vermont and what we fell in love with – the mountains and the country charm,” sums up Courtney.

Riverside Farm and Amee Farm are located on 700 acres in Pittsfield Vermont, a five hour drive from Ottawa. Amee Farm is oriented towards smaller intimate weddings while Riverside Farm can accommodate larger gatherings. Both are open year round with lodgings on-site or nearby. A wonder of a venue for an enchanting wedding event.



All Photos courtesy Riverside Farm

5 Ways Bridesmaids Can Personalize Their Looks

By: Diane Farquhar, courtesy of I Just Said Yes

Aside from the bride and the groom, bridesmaids are also the stars in a wedding. Just like the bride, bridesmaids are also expected to dress and look elegantly. Bridesmaids will usually depend on the bride to give them the okay on the color or style of their bridesmaid dresses but each bridesmaid can usually bring their own personality and their own looks by personalizing their style on the wedding day.

Personalizing your own looks as a bridesmaid can be really fun but remember you are NOT the bride and this is HER day, so be respectful of that as you agree to be a part of HER wedding day.

1. Jewelry  – Bridesmaids jewelry can be personalized with different colors, statement pieces, and still be elegant in the wedding photos. Matching sets of earrings, necklaces, or bracelets are a very affordable way to bring your personality to the wedding party.

2. Dye-able Shoes – Dy-eable shoes are a perfect way to personalize the bridesmaid look. Of course, you can choose any dye color that will match the wedding motif, but also another idea would be different styles like strappy heels, comfortable flats, or sandals with the same dye color.

3. Hair Styles and Accessories – Many bridesmaids prefer styling their hair to what they KNOW looks good on them. Bridesmaids can add accessories like pearl combs or embellished shiny beads to their hair. Another beautiful trend is using fresh flowers in your hair.

4. Wedding Bouquets – Bridesmaids can design their own bouquets. They can use multiple types of flowers in a bouquet or add accessories like brooches, crystals and pearls to make it standout. Make sure the end bouquet complements the bridesmaid style and color.

5. Dress Style & Color – Gone are days when bridesmaids used to have the same colors and styles of dresses. Choosing a dress that matches your body shape and style will personalize your look. Again this is a big part of the bride’s decision and she will definitely have final say but with any of these tips you can be sure a little bit of your personality will be highlighted.

Lisa and Colin: Up, Up and Away

By Rev. Alan Viau
Photography: Studio Art Maria

For anyone in the audience Lisa and Colin’s wedding seemed like a pretty standard affair. Except for the ending.

I tell my wedding couples that a wedding ceremony needs to be one that is easily recognized as such by your guests. A ceremony needs to feel like it reaches into the traditions of our past. Yet, I also encourage them to personalize it so that it suits their personalities and life-style.

So it was with Lisa and Colin. Their ceremony started like many others with Colin and I waiting for Lisa to start her way down the aisle.


She came down looking radiant with Dad and Mom. And the service was underway.



They exchanged personal vows with each other.


And of course the kiss!


However, at this point, rather than end the ceremony, I invited everyone outdoors.


At this point, Lisa and Colin took their vows and placed them in an envelope. In a message in the bottle theme, they attached the envelope to helium filled balloons. They released their love, sharing it with the world.


A neat idea to gift your love to the universe.


Grab Black Friday Savings for Your Wedding

By Susan Johnson

You’ve got the ring. Now the fun and exciting planning and shopping for your wedding begins. Before you set off to celebrate this holiday season, consider using Black Friday and Cyber Monday as a great time to stock up for your big day. There are several big ticket items, such as bridal party dresses, shoes, and accessories, that you could save some serious money on and you may not have to look too far. And don’t forget the other odds and ends, like bridal party gifts, favors for guests, and table decorations which can be found at stores you may not have thought of.

Department Stores

Have a look at department stores for deals on bridesmaid dresses, shoes, jewelry, and lingerie. Enlist the help of your bridal party and remember to have sizes that you need on hand in case you do find the perfect dresses. My bridesmaids and I were able to find the prefect dresses for the bridal party at a department store sale. It was so much more affordable and everyone was happy about that.

Shoes, need I say more. Don’t forget to find a pair that you can stand in, and more importantly, dance in, comfortably. Department stores are the perfect place to look at accessories to go with your new bridesmaid dresses and shoes. Finding the perfect way to accessorize your dress is important too. Remember to keep your receipt and know your store’s return policy. If you buy a few options, you can return the ones that don’t quite work. Lastly, don’t forget to look at lingerie to wear under your dress and for the special nights to follow. Finding the right set to wear under your dress can be quite the task, but with Black Friday prices, you may be able to find the perfect bra and panties at the perfect price. To find out more about the great opportunities at department stores on Black Friday check online before you shop.

Big Box Retailers

The cost of wedding decorations, favors, and other similar items can add up quickly. Take advantage of Black Friday prices at big box retailers. Before spending a large portion of your budget, think outside of the box. Table cloths, items for centerpieces and picture frames for displaying photos or holding place cards are all things that big box retailers carry. All of those great gadgets that are advertised as holiday presents can be used as wedding party gifts without having to blow the budget.

Craft Stores

Craft stores also have wonderful sales on Black Friday and are awesome places to find creative decorations and unique and special gifts for your bridal party. You can also find wedding favors and get ideas and inspiration by cruising the aisles. When I was planning my own wedding, I shopped at my local craft store and was able to find the perfect items to create my centerpieces. I also found unique gifts for my bridesmaids that I was able to personalize. Things like that can make your wedding more personal and really represent you and your style.


Shopping online can be great on Black Friday and you can find even more great deals on Cyber Monday. Online retailers, as well as department stores and big box stores, often offer great deals on Cyber Monday. It’s great if fighting the crowds on Black Friday isn’t your cup of tea.

Remember to do your research before you shop. Check ads that come in the newspapers and online. Make a plan to figure out where you are going to shop and which items you’re going to buy. Most importantly, have fun and enjoy every moment up to your big day!

Susan Johnson

Susan is a personal shopper who enjoys helping people make fashion choices.

Flowers for a Spring Wedding

Apple blossoms, cherry blossoms, Pussywillows and Forsythia: what a perfect background for a spring wedding.  Mind you, it would take a bit of timing to have them all bloom at the same time.

These are the ideal plants for a spring ceremony and reception, arranged in a trough shaped container, looking like a window box. You’ll want the blossom branches either high in the middle or at the back of the container, depending where the containers are (in the middle or the room or seen mostly from one side.)  Add Tulips next, then Daffodils, and then Hyacinths at the front of the arrangement.  Always keep the Hyacinths low because they are top heavy and have soft, juicy, weak stems that bend over easily.  To really make the arrangement look good, add some Peonies at different heights.

If you are using Oasis (a water absorbent foam used in floral arrangements), just remember that because some spring flowers have soft stems, it’s best to make a hole first then insert the flowers.

Another point: most spring flowers only look good when standing up straight.  I remember years ago, when we were making line arrangements, we used to stick a wire through the bloom of the tulips and down around the stem to make them go where we wanted them to. It looked terrible — this wire sticking up inside the bloom when it opened — and I apologize.

For the reception, I would suggest a small trough or square container, large size, with the Pussywillows in a cluster in the middle and the other blooms around the outside.  The Peonies can be cut short and drape over the edge of the container, if that’s the look you’re going for.

For the carrying bouquets, some brides like to carry Tulip bouquets… but just remember that Tulips open in room temperature and there’s nothing you can do about that.  Okay, you might be asking, “why do I see closed tulips in picture of bouquets?” It’s because they were kept in a cooler and were taken out two minutes before the picture was taken, or the picture was taken outside on a cold day.  So the best way to put them in a bouquet is to put them in a tight cluster in the centre with other spring flowers around them. That way they are held closed.


I haven’t said anything about colour yet.  It’s simple: when putting together a spring bouquet, the more colours, the better. They just seem to blend with each other.  But if you are having a spring wedding, and you are really colour-conscious, I recommend sticking to pastels.


Says, Bunches Bob

Renee & Michael – A Time and Place to be Happy

By Rev. Alan Viau
Photos by: Amber Bromby (amberbromby.com)

Renee and Michael held their nuptials at a special place – the Art Is In Bakery. A small gathering of friends and family were hosted and presented with their wedding – just the way the bride and groom wanted – at the right time and place to be happy.


Brides and grooms are seeking out non-traditional venues for their wedding event. The Art Is In Bakery is  a well respected and frequented Ottawa establishment that recently opened its space to events. I was honored to perform Art Is In Bakery’s first wedding ceremony with Renee and Michael.


The wedding was held on a warm October evening. Guests were mingling and having a drink.  The benches were ready for the ceremony.


Michael and Renee were anxiously waiting in the back room of the bakery looking forward to their moment.


The folks at the Bakery were putting on the final touches to the catering.

(Photo by Alan Viau)


(Photo by Alan Viau)

I asked everyone to be seated and with Michael and Renee in place, I welcomed everyone.


Renee and Michael asked me to present this advice which spoke to them:

As Robert G. Ingersoll said, “The time to be happy is now. The place to be happy is here.” Take the time to make your partner feel special. Never take each other for granted. Take the time to listen and to share. Give each other the benefit of the doubt because communication will be different at times and misunderstandings are inevitable. 

It takes time, effort, courage, and commitment to make a successful marriage. Take the time to negotiate, to talk about your fears, failures, and disappointments. Talk about each others expectations, hopes, and dreams. Be flexible and willing to adapt to changes and new circumstances. Above all, take the time to tell each other what you want. Take the risk of being vulnerable with each other.  

You will never finish building your relationship and together you will find new ways to nourish each others lives while finding greater happiness and meaning in your own.

The remainder of the wedding was just as personal, with vows that promised cherishing each other and working together to make a lifelong love of marriage. Finally the rings were exchanged to remind them each day of their commitments. Recognizing that words are powerful but fleeting, their wedding rings are the enduring symbol of the promises they made that day.

May the confidence, trust, and affection that Renee and Michael had for each other on this day sustain them as they go forth through life together, with its joy, its laughter, its sorrow, and its pain.


My big, fat Facebook wedding

(NC) Ten minutes ago via mobile: “We did it! I was shamefully late, he forgot the ring, but nothing stopped us from getting hitched, so on to the party!”

Every day we deliver updates and observations to our Facebook friends, so why wouldn’t you post real-time status updates of your wedding?

With a quarter of Canadian couples getting engaged between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve, the details leading up to the pending nuptials seem tailor-made for social media sharing. According to the findings from a David’s Bridal poll of over 1,200 Canadian brides, we may soon be seeing more couples logging into Facebook or tweeting from the church or honeymoon.

“Planning a wedding is one of the most exciting times for a couple, and it’s only natural that some brides want to share the news and all the details with friends, family and followers through their social media channels,” says Victoria Rucks at leading wedding retailer, David’s Bridal Canada. “While some couples are more private about their weddings, our poll shows that technology may be turning a traditional wedding on its head. Social media tools and apps are not only used for wedding planning, brides today are actually integrating social sharing into their wedding day. ”

This is what they are doing:

Announcing their engagement: The majority of Canadian brides think it’s okay to first announce their engagement via Facebook (68%), email (67%) or text (59%). They draw the line at Twitter and Instagram, as approximately 6 in 10 thought it was tacky to ”engage” these media when announcing their pending “Mrs.” status.

Staying online during the wedding:  It may be surprising to know that a whopping 1 in 5 (21%) plan on logging into their social networks and sharing their updates with everyone on the big day.

Sharing their honeymoon:  The traditional getaway retreat where couples can disconnect from the world may be a thing of the past. Surprisingly, one-third of brides plan to log into their networks while vacationing, and 1 in 5 plan to share status updates during their time away.

Live streaming: While only 9% of poll respondents said they streamed their wedding to have everyone involved, 30% are open to the idea. You may also see a Twitter station at your next reception, as 14% of respondents said they wished they knew about it or thought of it before. In the coming years, use of these technological tools may continue to grow amongst brides.

How to dress at a destination wedding

(NC) It is cold here, but it’s warm and sultry there. No wonder your favourite couple decided to take everyone to a sunny destination for their wedding vows. But how does one choose just the right clothes for that?

David’s Bridal Canada, a leading special occasion and wedding authority, has put together a list of tips that will help you look your best, wherever the wedding may be:

Let the invitation be your guide. Is it a black-tie affair in Italy or a beach-side ceremony in Costa Rica? Wear a long dress if the wedding is black-tie, a short cocktail dress that hits around the knee for a more traditional wedding, or a flowing maxi dress and sparkly flat sandals if you’re lucky enough to enjoy some sand and sun.

Dress for the time of day. Morning weddings tend to be more casual, so chose attire that is light-weight and flowing. Opt for more structured dresses that feature glitz and glamour for evening or cocktail hour affairs.

Be inspired by location. Not sure which colour to wear? Is it okay to wear white on the beach? Is it okay to wear black to a cocktail reception? Victoria Rucks of David’s Bridal Canada says: “Gone are the days where guests have to avoid black or white. The key is to never upstage the bride, so if you want to wear white to a beach-side, go ahead. Just make sure it has a bit of pattern or a unique silhouette.”

Think about what packs well. Skip dry clean-only dresses that wrinkle easily. Instead, opt for matte jersey that packs well or choose natural fabrics that can be ironed or steamed at the hotel so you will look great in all the photos, no matter the location.

Additional tips and wedding information is available online at www.davidsbridal.ca.

Keila-Lynne & Timothy: Destiny of Two Souls

“Destiny is a mysterious thing. No matter what you do or where you go, you can’t avoid it. And, no matter how hard you try, you cannot force it to happen before it’s time.” These were some of the opening lines to Keila-Lynne and Timothy‘s wedding at the Museum of Civilization. A wedding honoring tradition and their future together.


On this occasion we witnessed the destiny of two souls like it was written in the stars.

There is not a force in the universe that could have kept Keila-Lynne and Timothy apart and there is nothing they could have done to come together sooner.

Each of them had to live their lives to this point, lives that were stepping stones that have led to this moment in time, this wedding united their hearts and minds that shall be forever more.



Keila-Lynne walked down the aisle with her mother and father bracketed by the totem poles at the Museum of Civilization. It was fitting as Keila-Lynne is of First Nations descent.

In a special show of love and honor to their mothers, Keila-Lynne and Timothy thanked them for showing unconditional love. Mothers’ lips are the first to kiss and welcome children into the world. They were the last to kiss them in their single life and wish them well into their marriage. A mother’s love, along with their blessings, was the first to send them on their way to their new life together as husband and wife.





After their vows and ring exchange, one of Keila-Lynne’s family honored her heritage . She blew feathers into the four cardinal points calling upon Keila-Lynne to remember and honor the tribes from which she came.



And finally after declaring them married, they sealed their vows with a kiss… a kiss with destiny.



All photos courtesy of Studio Art Maria

Happy Shoesday with the Freya Rose ‘Night’ collection

These gorgeous shoes are works of art for your wardrobe. In celebration of Shoesday Tuesday, here are just a few of Freya Rose’s ‘Night’ collection. Inspired by the night time soirees at the Japanese party’s during the cherry blossom season, the ‘Night’ collection celebrates the exquisite craftsmanship of hand embroidery and creates a dramatic and glamorous collection of couture shoes. Below are Hiko, Kiko and Miko.

“I often tend to be drawn to the Orient for inspiration…. for the culture, art, architecture, films and beautiful landscapes.” says Freya.  “The new ‘Hanami’ collection is inspired by one of the most beautiful natural sights in Japan- Groves of Cherry Trees in full blossom. The Hanami tradition is to have daytime picnic parties and moonlit soirees. It’s the most magical time.”

The shoes are available online at freyarose.com.